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EU contemplates if Google and Yahoo should pay for displaying news snippets



EU contemplates if Google and Yahoo should pay for displaying news snippets

The European Union is tangled in a new debate — whether services like Google News and Yahoo News should pay for displaying news article snippets. The issue has started a harsh debate between the online industry and publishers.

International news agency Reuters reported On December 9th that the European Commission, the EU’s executive said it will consider whether “any action specific to news aggregators is needed, including intervening on the definition of rights.”

The whole issue came into focus after Brussels announced its plans to loosen copyright rules in order to allow its citizens to watch more content online. The whole issue has been named the “Google Tax” and has created an uproar and fierce opposition from the tech industry and publishers.

EU’s “Google Tax” has received fierce opposition from the tech industry and some publishers

Google had earlier pulled out Google News from Spain after a law was passed which called for Google to pay for re-publishing headlines or snippets. In Germany, the country’s top publisher Axel Springer SE, had to scrap a move to block Google from running snippets of articles from its newspapers because traffic to its sites plunged.

The Commission said it had no plans to tax hyperlinks, but was looking at the situations in France and Spain to see if they were delivering on their objectives. The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), whose members include Google (part of Alphabet Inc), Yahoo! Inc and Microsoft Corp, called the idea of a link and snippet tax “ill-founded, controversial and detrimental to all players.”

A group of 12 publishers and their associations including French newspaper Les Echos wrote to the Commission last week urging it not to introduce a Google Tax as it would make it harder for them to be discovered online.

Guenther Oettinger, EU Commissioner responsible for digital affairs, said it was too early to say whether search engines should pay to display snippets and a decision will only be taken by the second quarter of 2016.

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